Here's my impression of learning in Cabarete. I spent four full days on the
beach with Kitexcite school.
Kite Beach is a 120 foot wide soft sand beach on a gently rounding point.
The wind blows side shore to side on shore from 11AM through sunset. My
four days there it ranged from 12 knots at 11AM to 20 to 25 knots steady by
12 or 1PM. Temperature 85 F days, 75 at night, very nice. Water about 78?
F. Despite the reef 400? yards offshore, the water can have three foot
swells, but only breaking on the shore.
Kitexcite had a few missing instructors the first day, so my buddy went
windsurfing a mile away in Cabarete proper. I hung around and got my lesson
- very good, young Belgian guy. The late wind can affect the ability of any
school to give lessons, so when the wind didn't start until 2 PM one day, I
had a group-of-two lesson instead of private. Go with the Dominican flow.
The radio helmet concept works well. The audio is a bit scratchy with an
accent, but much better than none. As a newbie blowing downwind along the
beach with 25 knot winds, it's very nice when the instructor lets you know
you've passed the shore reef and can land on sand. Once when my instructor
was talking to two helmet heads, he mixed up the channels and languages for
a moment. Go with the Dominican flow.
The nationalities on the beach in descending order: German, English, Dutch,
American (mostly older guys, for some reason), Spanish, French. Of course,
everyone speaks good English, except most hotel/taxi/shopkeepers, who speak
a little English. If you like foreign travel, this is the place! Kite Beach
is a mile from the town; you can walk along the beach, or motorbike taxi's
wait outside, $1, 5 minutes to town. (Would a Gath protect you in a
crash?) Or you can call a cab. Town is interesting, some nice shops, some
souvenir shops, internet/phone shops, Lots of good bar/restaurants which set
tables on the sand under the palm trees. Fantastic. You will be offered
some time with Senoritas, unless you are one. Maybe even then.
The food is good and very reasonable (best restaurant Blue, dinner for two
with mas Presidentes, was about $45), but you can eat for $5. There is
German, Chinese, Irish pub as well as Dominican. Breakfast may be included
in your hotel. Kite Beach hotel, $25, $35, or $60 for a suite. Beautiful
building, rooms slightly tired. Or try Hotel Playa De Oro next door, very
nice, great hosts/owners. Kitexcite adjoins their bar, super handy for
lunch and beers.
This short beach has as many as 60 kites in the air most afternoons.
Kitexcite is the furthest school downwind, and there is plenty of room to
launch downwind of the good riders. Some very good riders here, even famous
ones. One local specializes in 300 foot jumps. Check out the local kids
6-9 learning on junk gear.